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May 13, 2020

Delays in FSU’s 2020 upstream projects mainly driven by OPEC+ cuts and oil price collapse

By GlobalData Energy

Covid-19 has accelerated its spread in countries of the Former Soviet Union (FSU), with Russia registering the second-highest number of confirmed cases globally at 232,243 as of 12 May.

Similar to other countries around the world, countries in the Former Soviet Union have mandated stringent measures, such as nationwide lockdowns, social distancing, and travel restrictions to contain the pandemic.

The decline in oil demand, triggered by national lockdown mandates and limits on air travel, has not been met by a matching decline in crude supplies, resulting in an oil price drop. OPEC+ countries, of which Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan are prominent members, have agreed to cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day, effective 1 May, with smaller decreases after two months.

Impact of Covid-19 on the FSU oil and gas projects is associated with the global demand collapse and the OPEC+ cuts, in addition to the direct impact from the virus. Large upstream developments, like Chayandisnkoye in Russia and Tengiz in Kazakhstan, have become small epicentres of Covid-19, forcing evacuations and quarantines.

Many delays in upstream projects slated for first production in FSU in 2020 are related to factors beyond the current pandemic, such as the need to find investment partners or low domestic gas prices. However, some new large oil projects in Russia, Lodochnoye, Chaprovskoye, Danilovskoye North (Severo-Danilovskoye), might be delayed to 2021 to ensure compliance with the OPEC+ cuts.

Gas projects, especially those tied to existing production infrastructure with access to markets, are less likely to be affected by the current situation and are expected online on schedule in 2020.

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